This post is for all you aspiring or current band members who are looking to add a solid bassist to their line-up. Let’s get to the crux of the matter: why are bass players so hard to find?
Let’s start with the basics. The bass guitar is considered one of the most difficult elements of the band to find players for that have mastered the instrument. As the name implies, a bass player plays low notes (a few octaves below the lowest melody note), but there are so many strings in a bass guitar that it requires multiple skills to play proficiently.
While there are many ways to practice playing a bass, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Practice with a metronome
- Get feedback and play along to others
- Practice scales, arpeggios, and chords.
- Learn how to read tablature
- Some Bass History
Let’s take a look at the history of bass guitar. It was once an extremely rare instrument. Its use in pop music was sporadic at best. Then something incredible happened. In the early 1970s, a man named Leo Fender made his name by producing the first solid-body electric bass.
Soon after, players like Jaco Pastorius, John Entwistle of The Who, Keith Moon of The Who, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin used the new instrument to create music unlike anything before. The bass guitar quickly became a staple of rock, metal, and punk music.
What Is The Current State Of The Bass Guitar?
If you compare the number of active and new bass guitarists in the 2020’s where we are now, then the bass guitar is not a very popular instrument among many of today’s bands.
This has a lot to do with the change in the tastes that people have in music. That is not to say that the bass is going extinct though. In fact the opposite is true – bass guitars are seeing a lot of attention in certain genre’s of music.
What types of Bass Guitar are there?
Many people don’t realize there are actually 3 bass guitars: upright, electric, and bass. The upright bass is the oldest form of bass guitar.
The electric bass guitar is the most widely used bass guitar type found played in bands. It is also known as a “double bass” due to its similarity to a standard double bass instrument, a larger version of an acoustic bass. The electric bass guitar typically has a higher range than the upright bass.
The third form of bass guitar is the rarest and the smallest, called a “slap” bass. Most slap basses use a finger technique similar to that used on the fretless guitar. They are usually smaller than the electric bass guitar. The bass guitar is the primary instrument played in rock and blues music.
The Problem With Finding a Bass Player
It is hard to find bass players, and there are several reasons for this. One of the biggest problems facing any band looking to book a bass guitarist is they simply cannot find a person who plays the instrument.
Another problem facing any band looking to book a bass guitarist is that not every genre of music is suitable to every bass player. Because bass players are people at the end of the day, they have different tastes in music and musical ambition.
Finding like-minded people to join a band is a hard thing to do at the best of times, and when you add in the rarity of the bass player into that equation you get a difficult task.
Are bass players failed guitarists?
So what gives? Why is there such a stigma about bass players and guitarists? This makes sense in a lot of ways, and even though bass players are sometimes called “failed guitar players” that is not really the case.
The simple truth is that guitarists are far easier to come by than a good bass player. Why? Guitarists get more attention that bassists, they sound more familiar to most people, and when most people think about playing music, they think about guitar. Guitar also one of the first instruments that people pick up, so it is no wonder that guitar is more popular than bass guitars.
In smaller bands where you might end up with 2 or even 3 guitarists and no bass players, then the weakest player generally draws the short straw and then picks up the bass duties. (Hey, it happened to me)
Why are bassists so hard to find?
If you have ever been in a band then you know that it’s really tough to find a reliable bass player, especially for shows with bigger crowds and venues.
We’ve had many bands struggle to find a solid, reliable bassist. It’s always a bit of a challenge to find someone that is able to keep up with the rhythm section.
While many bassists can play along with the rhythm section, many of them seem to get stuck on what the drummer is playing and are unable to follow the lead of the other instruments.
Finding a reliable, experienced, and talented bassist is tough.
Are bass players in demand?
Yes! Bass guitar players are like gold in the music world. A musician can go through dozens of bassists before they find the right fit. So how do you find the perfect bassist?
How Do We Find A Bass Player For Our Band?
Finding a quality bassist is tricky. Most people would agree that having the right bassist for your band is a critical component to your success, but often it’s the hardest thing to accomplish.
Why is this? Because the search is so broad, there’s a lot of options to consider. And no matter how talented you are, there are bass players out there who are better than you.
So how can you narrow down your search? First, it’s important to identify the bassist’s skillset and preferences. A good bassist will generally play what the songwriter is looking for. In this sense, they’re a conductor. They may not be the primary songwriter, but they will know the song inside and out, and they’ll play accordingly.
However, there are other factors to consider beyond the technical. Your bassist should be able to connect with the band and provide the support necessary to help the group come together. They need to be a good fit for the other members of the band. As the main rhythmic force in the band, their style needs to complement the music.
As you’re evaluating potential candidates, try to evaluate their attitude toward their role as a musician. Do they feel comfortable? Are they approachable? Do they take direction well? If they don’t, chances are they’ll be a bad fit for your band.
Conclusion: Why Are Bass Players so Hard to Find
If you’re going to be a bass player in a band, you need to know what it’s like to be a bass player. You can’t just show up and play the bass part of a song. You have to be able to read the music and work with the other musicians in the band. The best bass players are not just good bassists, but also good musicians and people.
In conclusion, the best bass players I’ve ever met have all been musicians first, bassists second. They’re the ones who are always in the studio and on stage. They’re the ones who can tell you exactly what they need to improve their sound. They’re the ones who will challenge you to be the best you can be.